City and Crime Stoppers team up to fight illegal dumping

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The city of Columbus and Central Ohio Crime Stoppers are seeking the community’s help in identifying suspected illegal dumpers caught on camera. The partnership is another enforcement tool in Mayor Andrew Ginther’s Clean Neighborhoods initiative to hold offenders accountable for dumping trash and debris in city alleys.

“Since we launched Clean Neighborhoods, the city has committed more resources to refuse crews and equipment for alley cleanups, expanded our Solid Waste Investigator Team and added several tools to fight illegal dumping,” said Ginther. “By partnering with Crime Stoppers, we are adding yet another enforcement tool and sending the clear message that illegal dumping will not be tolerated in Columbus neighborhoods.”

When residents see an illegal dumping site, or see someone dumping construction debris or other items not acceptable in city residential trash containers, they should report it to the city’s 311 Service Center. If possible, take a photo while the dumping is occurring or try to get a suspect description, vehicle description and/or license plate information. The city will share photos of suspected dumping offenders with Central Ohio Crime Stoppers so that residents can assist in identifying dumpers and holding them accountable.

Residents who recognize photos of illegal dumping suspects posted by Crime Stoppers can provide anonymous tips and may receive a reward for their assistance. Offenders may be criminally charged and/or cited for civil violations for illegal dumping in Columbus.

“I am thrilled that Central Ohio Crime Stoppers is partnering with the city’s division of refuse collection to fight illegal dumping activity,” said Central Ohio Crime Stoppers President Napoleon Bell. “Crime Stoppers is committed to the mayor’s Clean Neighborhoods initiative and will highlight illegal dumpers in our efforts to end littering in our alleys and roadways.”

Five solid-waste investigators in the division of refuse collection work with the city attorney’s office to build cases and file illegal dumping charges in Franklin County Municipal Court. The number of charges filed and convictions earned has been increasing each year, and the partnership with Crime Stoppers is expected to lead to more dumping convictions and fines as well as restitution paid.

“The city attorney’s office is committed to holding accountable those who turn our neighborhoods into dumping grounds through aggressive prosecution,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. “The partnership the city is announcing will only strengthen enforcement, promote accountability and further deter illegal dumpers from disrupting the quality of life in Columbus neighborhoods.”

The mayor’s 2022 operating budget provides funding for three additional rear-loader refuse trucks for alley cleanups, and topping off 300-gallon containers to help reduce dumping and limit spillover litter.

“The department of public service and our refuse collection crews appreciate the support of Mayor Ginther and city council as we are in our neighborhoods every day to clean up trash that has been illegally dumped,” said Public Service Director Jennifer Gallagher. “Our crews have rolled up their sleeves and cleaned up almost 18,000 tons of illegally dumped trash and almost 14,000 tires in three years.”

“The collaboration between Central Ohio Crime Stoppers and the division of refuse collection is one of many critical relationships needed to crack down on illegal dumpers and other bad actors,” said councilman Emmanuel Remy. “We are serious about addressing illegal dumping, and I hope this new collaboration becomes the resource Columbus residents need to help all of us mitigate this behavior.”

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